, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 193-201

Seasonal distribution of pathogenic free-living amebae in Oklahoma waters

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Pathogenic free-living amebae cause serious human disease, including infection of the eye and the central nervous system. The purpose of this study was to sample aquatic environments in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area year-round for the presence of these disease-causing amebae. A total of 34 pathogenic isolates were obtained from 2,016 processed water and swab samples. Pathogenicity was determined by the ability of amebae to cause death in mice after intranasal inoculation. Pathogenic amebae were isolated during every month of the year and were identified asNaegleria australiensis (38%),Acanthamoeba species (35%),N. fowleri (18%), and leptomyxid amebae (9%). Pathogenic leptomyxids have not previously been reported from the environment. The greatest percentage of recovery of pathogens occurred during the spring and autumn. The prevalence of pathogenic free-living amebae in the sampled waters was 1 pathogen/3.41 water.